SUN Hockey Pool

Nominations humble Thornton

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Joe Thornton wants to let you in on a little secret.

When it came to voting for the Lester B. Pearson Award, his choice was easy.

"I picked Jaromir Jagr," Thornton said during a phone interview this week. "I love the way he plays. He's so physical, yet he has so many skills."

The same could be said of Thornton.

That's why both men will be competing for a pair of prestigious NHL awards tomorrow in Vancouver.

Thornton, Jagr and electrifying rookie Alexander Ovechkin are finalists for the Pearson award, which goes to the player deemed to be MVP. Voting is done by the 700-plus players in the NHL.

Later in the day Thornton, Jagr and Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff go head-to-head for the Hart Trophy, which is voted on by writers.

Thornton is adopting a humble "ah, shucks" attitude when asked about his chances of capturing either prize.

"I realize how prestigious each one is," said Thornton, a native of St. Thomas, Ont. "It's just an honour to be mentioned."

Jagr seemed to be the frontrunner in the season's early stages, igniting the New York Rangers to a Cinderella-like start.

But Thornton gained a lot of momentum after being dealt to the San Jose Sharks in a shocking deal with the Boston Bruins just two months into the 2005-06 campaign.

Thornton would go on to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league's top scorer, edging out Jagr by two points.

Yet there remain naysayers who claim Thornton fell under the radar of eastern-based Hart voters because he now plays on the west coast.

"I don't really believe that will be a factor, even though I don't pay much attention to such things," Thornton said.

"With the internet and all the different TV stations around, it's easy for people to keep up with what you are doing."


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